The iPad Revolution

Yes, I know some of you rolled your eyes at that but I am now going to remind you all of a prediction I made when the first iPhone was announced three years ago.

2. Apple will release a tablet device that will be a large version of the iPhone designed to accommodate easy web and email viewing as opposed to pocketable portability. It will probably include a camera the other way for video conferencing and integrate with Apple TV (anyway you might figure). I wonder if it will slot into a fridge but there is a chance that it may be part of a new iMac with separating screen.

3. All MacBooks will migrate to a touch screen option and will have a GSM or Edge integrated option.

4. There will be a GPS navigation version with iPod included specifically for cars.

5. And, finally, for my big hope: an ebook reader that will do to books what the iPod has done to music.

OK we are not quite there but there is something quite natural in the evolution of these devices. But here is why the iPad will be a revolution.

  1. eReading will now take off. The iPad will offer Apple’s store but also the Kindle and probably many others as well through applications. Apple may end up controlling the hardware but that is far from a given as eInk still has the quality that it has long battery life and you can use it on planes during take off and landing.
  2. eMedicine will now work. The idea is that doctors should be able to enter reports and get access to data at the hospital bed rather than transcribing back to computers. This will change the way health is practiced.
  3. eEducation will get a big lift. The iPad is the natural education device for the classroom. Children as young as one can understand a touch screen but the key has been having a larger screen that did not require as much dexterity. This is now solved. All they need now is flash so that sites such as will work. Think also about the drawing apps.
  4. The end of DVDs: this is it for DVDs. The only thing holding back their destruction is that the iTunes store is so proprietary. Once that goes, there is no need for a portable DVD player and the iPad will simply plug into televisions as a substitute.
  5. Presentation computers. We will have no computer in the classroom for lectures. This will be the device we use for PowerPoint and other demonstrations. If we need a computer application, we can use logmein to access one elsewhere.
  6. The newspapers may be saved. OK this is harder to think about but my speculation is that the format for reading will be comfortable and will be a paid subscription. Moreover, the newspaper will be browsed again so advertising will come back as being more effective.
  7. New games: iPhone games are impressive but only a few really work on a small screen. The larger screen will open up more games — especially board games and games like Air Hockey among others.

I could go on but you get the point. This device creates options that have not been there before and given the price point, the potential to become widespread. What I don’t think will happen is a camera and that whole videoconferencing angle. The camera on a computer is never flattering and I just don’t think it will work for people on a handheld device. Apple’s camera ambitions will grow off the iPod and iPhone.

11 thoughts on “The iPad Revolution”

  1. Joshua,
    Regarding point 5, an iPad as an “e-book reader that does for books what the iPod did for music”. Is that really a good outcome, where consumers are locked into a proprietary model with expensive service and average quality? (Consumers didn’t go near their macTV download model, and rightly so.)
    The iPad, given it’s screen limitations, e.g. ‘old’ LCD technology – active backlighting, is ultimately a media device, not an e-reader. I’m sure Apple will make a squillion out of iPads for people that purchase anything with an “i” in the name, but try reading with one of them for more than an hour in daylight and see how much you enjoy that downloaded novel on holiday, for example. That doesn’t mean that Apple can’t source the necessary e-Ink screen technology but then it will be at odds with their media ambits.
    Following on from Apple’s iTunes model, would the prospective purchaser of textbooks be obligated to have an iPad to get access to the publishers of various e-textbooks. If one decided that a Kindle (or whatever) was better value can the textbook be transferred or would Apple seek to lock the reader into a proprietary model. All speculation, admittedly, but Apple has form in this topic.


  2. Since I got my Kindle, the remark every single person who has seen it has made is how the e-ink was far better than they expected, and that they liked the lack of backlighting.
    So I do think the iPad will suffer if the screen isn’t up to it.
    Which raises an issue. It’s far bulkier than a phone or an mp3 player or even the kindle, but it has less functionality than a netbook which is roughly the same size. It may risk being neither fish nor fowl where advantages of other technologies are outweighed by disadvantages.


  3. Richard,

    I agree with your points about the iPad features. Other than the form factor, there really isn’t much there that a macbook or netbook can’t do. Cynically, that won’t stop the public from buying ‘iStuff’. 
    The issue of e(i?)-books may be moot. Apparently the AU version of the iPad will not support an iBookstore service per se. I would guess Apple isn’t bothered with AU publishers yet. Might be testing how the USA market receives the device.


  4. It’s smaller and lighter than a laptop if all you want to do is read and as you say show presentations etc. but I can’t see the revolutionary aspect here…. I’m happy reading on my Mac laptop which has a bigger screen…


  5. “eMedicine will now work.”
    Maybe they left out the camera, on purpose, so it could be marketed for privacy-intensive locales.
    Maybe there will be later models with fingerprint and voice-print.
    Newspapers will have to do a whole lot better at directing readers to original sources and actual analysis, especially interactive modelling of data. Really, who would buy an electronic device to read the crap that fills our newspapers? For instance, if Monckton has made outrageous errors, then the sites that are promoting him as the Saviour of mankind ought to be honest enough to give their audience the benefit of reading the whole story.


  6. “eMedicine will now work”
    Is this some sort of word play on the iPad branding?
    I’m not sure how I see a new form factor device suddenly solving the myriad of issues in adopting bedside computing for clinicians.
    Apart from the fact that there are already devices available that have been specifically designed for clinical environments, how does the iPad solve integration with other hospital information systems, standardisation of records keeping, overcoming user education barriers, process re-engineering for drug authorisation and distribution, and the financial costs of purchasing equipment and automating existing processes?
    And since when has Apple’s corporate support been good enough to meet the needs of demanding health users?
    Or is there “an App for that?”


  7. “The iPad should not be used as an e-reader purely due to the screen.” – IanG

    Correct. It’s the limitations of screen technology that is the biggest barrier to technological convergence. So long as I can’t get a low cost, low power draw, high contrast, high resolution, high video responsiveness, high colour saturation screen, then differing uses will require differing screens with a differing subset of these qualities. So the iPad aint no Kindle-killer.

    Oh yeah, proprietary formats suck.


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